This study is the first nation-wide, qualitative assessment of GBV that has ever been done in Sudan, co-authored by UNFPA and the Government of Sudan’s Combating Violence against Women Unit (CVAW). The report aims to complement existing methodologies for data gathering and analysis, by ensuring that the views, experiences and priorities of women and girls are understood and addressed.
The methodology for this assessment included 215 Focus Group Discussions with communities, 21 with GBV experts, and a documentary review of existing studies and assessments. The research was conducted in 60 localities and camps, across Sudan, between August and November 2020. Data was analyzed through a software for qualitative data analysis and a frequency analysis of answers was run. The methodological framework is based on that of Voices from Syria by the Whole of Syria GBV AoR. The analytical framework is based on the Sudan’s Standard Operating Procedures for addressing GBV.
The study found that the community perceives as most common GBV issues domestic and sexual violence, where the key concerns include physical violence in the home by husbands towards wives, and by brothers against sisters, as well as the restrictions in movement that women and girls are subjected to. Sexual violence is a concern especially against women working in informal jobs, refugee and IDP women when moving outside camps, people with disabilities especially mental, and children in Qur’anic schools.
Forced marriage is prominent, with most marriages being arranged with members of the same tribe or relatives without the girl’s consent or knowledge. Female Genital Mutilation is widespread, with wide differences based on geographical and tribal affiliation; the study found that knowledge about the illegality and harmfulness of the practice has reached the community. Child marriage and FGM are not perceived as a key concerns by the community.
Women’s access to resources is severely restricted, with financial resources being controlled by men and access to opportunities, especially education, severely penalizing girls over boys. Verbal and psychological pressure for compliance with existing gender norms and roles is widespread, leading in some cases to suicide.
The deteriorating economic situation since 2020 and COVID19 increased violence, especially domestic violence and forced marriage. Harassment in queues for essential supplies such as bread and fuel was reported.
Addressing GBV in Sudan is a critical priority. The current context of increased openness by the Government of Sudan, and dynamism by civil society, opens opportunities for significant gains in advancing women’s safety and rights.